Rock Gardening in The Midwest - Problems?

22 posts / 0 new
Last post
ClifflineGardens
ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

Well, the soil mix I made does drain rapidly. So maybe it was the winter weather that killed them. We had an awful drought in Chicago last summer, but I watered. These went in in the Fall and grew for about three weeks before winter hit. So I wouldn't really have called them established.

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

Rapid freezing and thawing of the roots will kill even cold-hardy plants.  It's not the temperature that gets them, but the rate of change of temperature.  There are a few things you can do to reduce the rate of change:
1.  Increase the thermal mass of the planting by using a bigger container and filling it with more mix.
2.  Insulate the container somehow. Maybe use a foam cooler as a container.  Or glue some insulating foam onto the outside of your container.
3.  Make sure the mix is very moist.  Maybe use a more water-retentive mix.  Water stores a lot of heat, and takes a lot longer to freeze and thaw than dry mix.
4.  Mulch.
5.  Protect from wind.

None of these things will change the temperature that the mix ultimately reaches.  They will just slow the rate of change.

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

You say "the plants get afternoon shade".  So that means they are facing east, right?  In the winter, the plants and soil will be frozen at night, and then will be quickly defrosted by the morning sun.  That's deadly.  It's better to place them in a west-facing location, so that they have all morning to thaw out before the sun hits them.  Better yet, don't let the sun hit them at all in the winter.  They aren't growing anyway.

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

ClifflineGardens
ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

I have problems with squirrels digging and pulling plants out, window sills are the only safe place.

Eastern exposures killing roots through rapid freeze thaw...I never considered that. My 15 sq ft of garden is precious, there's not much room for failure.

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

ClifflineGardens
ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

Here's my update, as of 10.18.2013 

 

Survivors - Acantholimon armenum, Arabis x kellereri, Campanula betulifolia, Daphne 'Lawrence Crocker', Penstemon uintahensis

Species which were propagated this summer and proved to survive the Chicago 4th floor in 90% equal parts sand, diatomite, perlite and 10% peat;

Aquilegia caerulea, Aquilegia jonesii, Aquilegia canadensis, Penstemon digitalis, P. hirsutus, P. grandiflorus, Helianthus occidentalis, Houstonia longifolia, Delosperma nubigenum, Sempervivums, Solidago sciaphila, Aster macrophyllus, Aster laevis, Koeleria glauca, Eragrostis spectabilis, Opuntia humifusa, Sedums (duh), Petrorhagia saxifraga, Phemeranthus calycinus, Phemeranthus rugospermum, Viola palmata, Allium sikkimense, Viola adunca, Silene regia, Antennaria neglecta, Scutellaria leonardii, Arenaria stricta

 

It is of note, that on the 4th floor, it seems that everything becomes rather choice, and small. All species of Aquilegia are the same size. Jonesii is quite small, conversely, A. canadensis can be three feet. On my sills, they're maybe 4 inches tall. 

 

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Thanks for the useful information, GreenRoofer.  I've never seen Phemeranthus rugospermum before.  It is just as nice (or nicer) as the Phemeranthus parviflorus in western Minnesota.  The two species are nearly identical, botanically speaking.  I hope you didn't let the seeds drop to the sidewalk below!

Phemeranthus parviflorus

         

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

ClifflineGardens
ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

Gathered all I could, I am hoping that the seeds crossed with the Phemeranthus calycinus to make something new. There's some overlap in their blooming times, but I'm not sure if this genus is 'promiscuous'.

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

GreenRoofer wrote:

Gathered all I could, I am hoping that the seeds crossed with the Phemeranthus calycinus to make something new. There's some overlap in their blooming times, but I'm not sure if this genus is 'promiscuous'.

 

I can only say that I have had two species of Phemeranthus, calycinus (to 8 inches) and an unidentified species kinda like brevifolia (to 4 inches), that hop around in my pot menagerie for at least five years.  I have never observed any intermediaries.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

It will be interesting to see how the plants do over winter.. Have the pots been insulated at all? I find a few plants here will survive in small pots sitting out on top of the soil, but very few. Any plants I have outside in pots are sunk into the soil for winter.. There is some point where the pot becomes large enough sitting on the soil for plants to survive, but I'm not sure where the line is...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

ClifflineGardens
ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

ill put them in the shade, in a group most likely. my porch should accomplish that quite nicely. I think they'll survive...we'll see. 

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

Pages

Log in or register to post comments